African Pictures | 2017 | 89 minutes
Stranger Says: The African country in this very entertaining film is, like Black Panther’s Wakanda, fictional. Also like Wakanda, it’s run by an enlightened leader, played by the director Sylvestre Amoussou. But whereas the leader of Wakanda is in the process of opening his country to the world, the leader of Tangara wants to close his by nationalizing all the major industries and imposing capital controls. Western corporations hire a French economic hit woman to destabilize Tangara’s democracy and incite a civil war. Innocent people are raped and killed, politicians are bought, and the free press is threatened. Will Tangara’s experiment with black economic independence survive this ferocious attack? The film’s ending is as real as the country. (Those who watch this must also watch Silas.)
SIFF Says:Audiences cheered this year over the release of Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER for its rare depiction of a black superhero that drew box-office-busting crowds. But nearly a year before that milestone, this Benin film, about triumphing over the outdated policies of Africa’s colonial past, has had a similarly galvanic effect on festival audiences. Directed, produced, and starring Sylvestre Amoussou, THE AFRICAN STORM tells the story of the fictional African nation of Tangara, which had been under the influence of Western governments for centuries until the current President (Amoussou) decides to break the cycle of exploitation by nationalizing its businesses, especially those that control the nation’s vast diamond-mining operations. Despite aggressive resistance from the Western corporations, the President and his constituents rally together and take even bolder steps toward economic freedom by establishing ties with Russia and China, rejecting the “CFA franc” currency, a relic of the French colonial past in West Africa, and denouncing the disastrous policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. This crowd-pleasing fable, which won the Silver Stallion Award at last year’s Pan African Film and Television Festival, breaks the shackles of what Amoussou calls the “miserable Africa” style of political filmmaking by presenting a rousing, uplifting solution to the racist policies that led to corruption and poverty across Africa.
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